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Black and white photo of the interior of Trinkle Hall with hanging overhead lights, large windows and long dining tables
Trinkle Hall
Opened: 1926
Named for: Governor E. Lee Trinkle
Renovations: 1929, 1950, 1983
Fire: 2003
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Trinkle Hall opened in September 1926 at William & Mary. Around 1920 a temporary addition was added to the Dining Hall with materials from the Penniman complex. The structure was intended to alleviate overcrowding in Science Hall and to serve as a dorm for 50 and dining hall for 150. The addition was destroyed on June 6, 1925, after a fire at the Penniman Building damaged the Dining Hall. The kitchen suffered $46,000 in damage.

Governor E. Lee Trinkle promptly authorized funding for a new building that would envelope the Dining Hall. The new building was designed by architect Charles M. Robinson. The facility, which seated 900-1,000 students, opened in September 1926 at a cost of $150,000. The Board of Visitors renamed the building Trinkle Hall in honor of Governor Trinkle.

Minor renovations in 1929 included replastering the kitchen, tile floors, painting the interior, and relining the ovens. Circa 1941, a sound system was installed in Trinkle Hall. A bookstore and the Wigwam soda shop (both owned and operated by the College of William & Mary) became part of the new dining hall circa 1942-1943. The main dinging hall ("the barn") was converted to cafeteria service. A cloak room and restrooms were installed.

Trinkle Hall was remodeled and redecorated in Fall 1950 and the bookstore moved into Taliaferro Hall around that same time. The aesthetically pleasing "Garden Room" and "Topaz Room" replaced the old bookstore while the small cafeteria was transformed into the "Pagoda Room," a popular spot for students because it contained a large-screen television. The soda shop was discontinued circa 1960 when the Campus Center opened. The construction of the Commons Dining Hall in 1967 decreased Trinkle's popularity. It served as a site for special functions and as the Student Association movie theater. A pub opened within Trinkle in Fall 1970. Trinkle Dining Hall officially closed in the fall of 1972.

In the mid-1970's the "Hoi Polloi" was located just behind the Campus Center in old Trinkle Hall. Frequented by students and faculty in an atmosphere less formal than that of a classroom, the Hoi Polloi provided rock bands, folk bands, dances and amateur night entertainment.

In 1983, a $1.2 million renovation of Trinkle Hall was proposed to transform the building into a student-activities center and to alleviate overcrowding at the Commons Dining Hall. Funded by the Auxiliary Enterprise Funds, the renovation transformed the pub into a cafeteria and added a gameroom, a craft studio, student offices, and an atrium lounge. Hudgens Construction Company of Newport News completed the renovation in June of 1984 at a final cost of $1.48 million. The 23,000-square-foot complex was renamed the Campus Center with the Great Hall (the former large dining hall) being renamed Trinkle Hall. Hanging over the fireplace in Trinkle Hall is a large English coat of arms that has no connection to the university. Trinkle Hall and the Campus Center are located across from the historic campus on Jamestown Road.

On April 3, 2003, a fire in a maintenance team's office in the basement of Trinkle Hall resulted in smoke damage and caused the Campus Center to be shut down for most of the morning. The fire was mainly contained in that area, but also spread to the Print Shop at the back of the Campus Center.1

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • The Flat Hat (select), 10/6/42, p. 4; FH, 2/27/51, p. 1; FH, 3/7/75, p. 9; FH, 2/27/76, p. 20; FH, 8/31/84, p. 5.
  • Alumni Gazette (select), Dec. 1950, p. 4-5; June 1984, p. 4-5.
  • William & Mary News (select), 9/11/84, p. 1; 10/31/84, p. 1.
  • Colonial Echo.
  • Buildings and Grounds--Trinkle Hall, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • Buildings and Grounds--Trinkle Hall and other folders, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.



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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.